Smart Ramps Up LTE and 5G Rollout Nationwide

Ciara Alarcon
As the internet usage soars high due to the enhanced community quarantine, Smart Communication, Inc. (Smart) continues to boost its LTE rollout in the Philippines to serve more customers. The roll-out also serves the purpose of laying the groundwork for the deployment of 5G.

Smart Ramps Up LTE and 5G Rollout Nationwide
Smart Ramps Up LTE and 5G Rollout Nationwide

The move from Smart will increase the volume of data traffic that the network can handle, thus, improving wireless services for its subscribers. Moreover, it will positively impact users' experience as most smartphones in the Philippines these days are LTE-capable.

Earlier this year, the company started reallocating its assigned 1800MHz frequencies from 2G to 4G/LTE. The reallocation program began last April 12 in the Visayas region followed by the other parts of the country, including remote areas of Ifugao, Mindoro, Northern Samar, and Sulu.

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The ongoing capacity expansion resulted in a 10% increase in LTE base stations as compared to the end of 2019.

“This is part of our commitment to keep improving our customers’ experience on our network, wherever in the country they may be,” said PLDT-Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering Mario G. Tamayo. 
“In most provinces, we have already upgraded our existing sites to LTE. We continue to add LTE bands and rollout additional physical sites so that we can support our customers’ ever-increasing need for connectivity, especially in the new normal,” Tamayo added. 

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In addition, Smart has started to roll out equipment to support Smart's 5G network, which recently went live as a commercial service.

“With increased capacity, our customers can continue to enjoy quality connectivity on our network, not just for staying in touch with their loved ones, but also for studying online, working remotely and running their businesses from the safety of their homes amid the pandemic,” he said, adding that Smart is also upgrading their sites with 5G-ready equipment using the 2600 MHz frequency.

Smart claimed that last 2019 it increased its LTE stations to 24,600 or by 51% from the previous year. Moreover, the 3G base stations were also expanded by 19% to 13,800. These improvements widened Smart's mobile coverage to about 94% of the country's population.

Also, in 2019, Smart hit a record-high of 1.6 exabytes or 1,612 petabytes of mobile data traffic on its network, which is double than of 2018's 824 petabytes and four times as much data compared to 2017. This first half of 2020, they already hit a staggering 1.3 exabytes of data, which is more than twice as much data compared to the same period last year.

Another milestone from both Smart and PLDT for the Q1 and Q2 of this year is the confirmation from Ookla, an Internet testing, and analysis firm, that they are the fastest mobile and fixed networks in the Philippines, respectively.

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